Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Please Help!

Hello dear friends!

I'm posting again here in hopes to reach some of you that might not have accessed my newer website/blog.

Can I ask a huge favor of you?  I am in the process of writing my book proposal this summer - yes God's given me a book!

But in the hopes of getting it published, I need to show possible publishers the current stats about my writing, including how many followers I have, number of hits on my web page, etc.  That's where you come in.

If you read my writing and would offer your support to my project, would you be willing to sign up as a "Follower" on my newer website www.ondryground.org?  It's that little blue box in the left hand column that says "Join this site."  Just click that and follow the prompts.

If you wouldn't mind helping me out, I'd be forever grateful. 

God's the one in charge of this publishing process, but still I must give the publishers the information they require.

Thank you for signing up and also for faithfully praying me through this process.  If there's some way God can use our journey for His glory, I don't want to stand in the way.

In Him,
Juli

Friday, June 1, 2012

It's June 1st!

That means I'm back to writing and school's almost done.

While I was away the month of May, I reworked my website as promised.  So now all of my writings will be posted on one site, regardless of topic.  Please visit my main page, www.ondryground.org to continue reading my thoughts, challenges and lessons learned while journeying through life. 

On my new website you can now sign up for posts to be directly emailed to your inbox if you're so inclined. 

I'm sorry to have to ask you, but if you follow this blog, I'd love for you to re-sign up as a follower for my new blog at On Dry Ground.

Thanks for searching for the light in the Word with me.  I look forward to continuing our journey together at On Dry Ground.

On your mark...
Get set...
Here We Go!

Friday, May 4, 2012

It's May!  That means I have 24 school days to finish the school year, including all my assessing, grouping students for next year, helping my students celebrate their parents for Mother's and Father's Day, completing the pounds (literally) of paperwork and data that must be submitted, AND packing my room as I move to a new grade next year!

On a personal note, during that same time frame I have to survive Mother's Day myself!

And, on a writing note, I need to get my website and writing blogs updated!

Soooo...
1)PRAY FOR ME!!!!! :)

and 2) offer me grace.

I need to take a break from posts until June 1.

Please come back on June 1 for hopefully a new look, a fresh spirit, and the start of our summer stretch!

Much love and constant prayers...
Juli

Friday, April 27, 2012

Easter Bookends


It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin it's leverage, its destructive power.  But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three -- sin, guild, death -- are gone, the figt of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!  1 Corinthians 15:57

Last week my women's bible study in the book of John had us looking at the Resurrection.  I paused when I read question number 10.  "What keeps us from sharing the exciting news of Christ's resurrection with those who don't believe?"
I finally jotted down my answer.
"Most of the time when people share about the need for Christ it centers on one's need for forgiveness, the need for payment for our sins.  We tend to focus on Jesus' death and payment and forgiveness- Good Friday, rather than the Resurrection."
As I stared at what I wrote, I remembered back to my own acceptance of Christ at age 4.  Even at that young age I recognized my imperfection, my need for a savior.  I readily came to God for what he could do for me... my ticket out of hell. 
But then I lived my life in fear of losing his acceptance.  I religiously worked to earn his approval, fearful he might change his mind.  My religion centered on me, a self focus, of keeping myself safe.  But yet, how many times did I take God's offer of forgiveness for granted and continue in my sin?
As I thought about my answer to question 10, I thought about how just knowing I was forgiven wasn't enough to truly change me.
What did?  My answer to question 8.
Question 8 asked "What does the Resurrection mean to you?"
I'd written down, "God's absolute authority.  Nothing exists more powerful than God- not even death.  He IS the ultimate authority."
It wasn't until I ran smack into the wall of God's sovereignty when he didn't heal Andrew that I finally stopped my religion of self service and paused to see with whom I'd aligned my life.
God had been too much a part of my life to just throw it all away when life didn't turn out like I wanted.  So before I turned my back, I took the time to get to know him. 
The more I got to know him, familiar with his character and experiencing his presence, the more I wanted to serve, the more I willingly surrendered, the more I longed to change and be like him.  God deserved my worship not for what he'd done, but simply for who He was.
Absolute perfection.
Absolute power.
AND
Absolute love.
As I put my two questions of the study together that night, I realized that I needed to be sharing the entire Easter experience with others who didn't believe.  It's not enough to just share that God paid their debt.  They also had to understand that GOD paid their debt....WHO he was not just WHAT he did.
I understood facing someone more powerful than death could be intimidating... it scared me for years.  But that evening, as I put my various thoughts together, I finally understood.  When you take the entire Easter weekend experience, it all balances out.
Good Friday is the most dramatic demonstration of God's love.  He so desperately longs to be connected to us that he sent his own son to pay for my sins with his very blood. 
Resurrection Sunday is the most dramatic demonstration of God's power.  Absolutely nothing controls him or has more power than he does. Nothing is more worthy.
When you combine the love of Friday with the power and sovereignty of Sunday, you get a God you can trust,  a God worth serving, a God worthy of surrender.
I trust God with my life.
Do you??
Father God, Help us to grasp this.  Move us beyond to just what you do to understanding exactly who you are.  Let our understanding and knowledge of the entire Easter weekend impact us like never before.  We need to understand your great sovereignty, your absolute power and control, your total worthiness to be served.  Help us to not fear your great power and control, but trust it.  You proved it is trustworthy in your incredible display of love for us on the cross.  While we were still sinners, you came for us, to rescue us, to free us from ourselves, to reunite us to you.  Let us come to you in total understanding of Who you are as well as What you have done.  This is the complete package.  This is what will change our lives and leave us never the same.  I surrender my life to you for you are worthy. I accept your offer of forgiveness and grace, dramatic evidence of your love.  I trust you God with my life.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Challenges continued....

Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches. Revelation 2:17

Last week I shared the beginnings of my investigation into Revelations. The messages to the seven churches intrigued me. I found Christ addressing the same questions to me that he directed to the church. For the first three churches, visit last week's blogpost here.

To the church of Thyatira, Jesus says this:

I see everything you're doing for me. Impressive! The love and the faith, the service and persistence. Yes, very impressive! You get better at it every day.
But why do you let that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet mislead my dear servants into Cross-denying, self-indulging religion? I gave her a chance to change her ways, but she has no intention of giving up a career in the god-business. I'm about to lay her low... Then every church will know that appearances don't impress me. I x-ray every motive and make sure you get what's coming to you...Hold on to the truth you have until I get there. Rev. 2:19-23, 25MSG



How this message challenged me....

Do my beliefs align with the truth?

Are they Christ centered and Christ focused?

Is my walk a relationship and not based on a religion?

Is my every action from a pure motive of honoring and pointing to Christ or about me?


To Saris, Jesus speaks:

I see right through your work. You have a reputation for vigor and zest, but you're dead, stone-dead. Up on your feet! Take a deep breath! Maybe there's life in you yet. But I wouldn't know it by looking at your busywork; nothing of God's work has been completed. Your condition is desperate. Think of the gift you once had in your hands, the Message you heard with your ears—grasp it again and turn back to God.
If you pull the covers back over your head and sleep on, oblivious to God, I'll return when you least expect it, break into your life like a thief in the night. You still have a few followers of Jesus in Sardis who haven't ruined themselves wallowing in the muck of the world's ways. They'll walk with me on parade! They've proved their worth! Rev. 3:1-4MSG


The questions this brought to my mind...

Who's work am I doing?

What do I cling to? Is it a who? Is it the right Who?

What message guides, shapes, and impacts my life?

In what area do I function oblivious to God?

Where am I still wallowing in the muck of the world's ways?


These were Jesus' words to Philadelphia:

I see what you've done. Now see what I've done. I've opened a door before you that no one can slam shut. You don't have much strength, I know that; you used what you had to keep my Word. You didn't deny me when times were rough. .. Because you kept my Word in passionate patience, I'll keep you safe in the time of testing that will be here soon, and all over the earth, every man, woman, and child put to the test. I'm on my way; I'll be there soon. Keep a tight grip on what you have so no one distracts you and steals your crown. Rev. 3:8, 10-11MSG


The challenges to my own heart....

Do I trust God's sovereign control to open and close doors in my life?

Where am I challenging what he's doing?

Do I keep God's Word with passionate patience?

Am I passionate about God's Word?

Do I lean on God for safety in times of testing?

Am I holding tight to what I have, intentional and focused?

What is distracting me?

What is threatening to steal my crown?


Finally, Jesus says the following to Laodicia:

I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You're not cold, you're not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You're stale. You're stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, 'I'm rich, I've got it made, I need nothing from anyone,' oblivious that in fact you're a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless.
Here's what I want you to do: Buy your gold from me, gold that's been through the refiner's fire. Then you'll be rich. Buy your clothes from me, clothes designed in Heaven. You've gone around half-naked long enough. And buy medicine for your eyes from me so you can see, really see. The people I love, I call to account—prod and correct and guide so that they'll live at their best. Up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God! Rev. 3:15-19MSG



And these questions whispered through my mind....

Where am I lukewarm? Am I fully committed or giving half hearted effort?

Is there evidence of growth, change, and progress in my life or am I stale and stagnant? Is everything routine in how I'm relating to God or is it vibrant and growing and alive?

What riches fill my life? What is my source of wealth - earthly or spiritual?

What do I consider to be gold? Is it the gold refined by fire - FAITH? (Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. 1 Peter 1:7)

Am I pursuing God's clothes, those designed in heaven- RIGHTEOUSNESS? (I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness. Isaiah 61:10)

Do I seek the medicine that heals so I can really see- TRUTH? (Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32)

Where do I resist God's prodding, correction and guidance?

Do I see his correction as evidence of his love?

Am I sitting down in my faith or am I up and active and intentional?

What am I running after? Is it God?

Father, I pray that these questions will simmer within our hearts; That the Holy Spirit will bring them to mind over the coming days showing us how we can become closer to you. We long to be freed from those things that hold us back and prevent our growth. Give us the courage to look within and lay everything bare before you. Bring your truth into our hearts, shining your light into every cark corner. Through your light may we surrender in faith, to be clothed in your righteousness. Make us more like you Jesus. In your precious name we pray, Amen.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Challenges to the Church are Challenges to Me

Don't fear: I am First, I am Last, I'm Alive. I died, but I came to life, and my life is now forever. See these keys in my hand? They open and lock Death's doors, they open and lock Hell's gates. Now write down everything you see: things that are, things about to be. Revelations 1:17-19 MSG


Easter has come and gone. I read through the book of John the final week of Easter so now that it's over, I decided to continue reading John's works and started into Revelation. Maybe it will make sense this time?

As I navigated through the beginning chapters, I seriously looked at the messages of Christ to the seven churches. The description of each and the challenges Christ posed intrigued me. I found myself pausing after reading each one, searching to see if I too demonstrated the same qualities Christ confronted. It was quite the experience so I thought I'd share them with you.

I'd encourage you to read the whole section in its entirety as I'll simply summarize the main message here. I hope you find Christ's words challenging and reaching deep into an open heart.

Jesus comments to the church at Ephesus stating:
I see what you've done, your hard, hard work, your refusal to quit. I know you can't stomach evil, that you weed out apostolic pretenders. I know your persistence, your courage in my cause, that you never wear out.
But you walked away from your first love -- why? What's going on with you, anyway? Do you have any idea how far you've fallen? A Lucifer fall!
Turn back! Recover your dear early love. Rev. 2:2-5MSG



How this passage challenged me....

From where do I draw my strength?

Does God consume my world?

Do I still have that same "early love" that enraptured my heart to Christ or have I allowed other things to take priority and my relationship to become routine?

What evidence can I find that proves God truly is my first love?

To the Church in Smyrna, Jesus spoke:
I can see your pain and poverty—constant pain, dire poverty—but I also see your wealth. And I hear the lie in the claims of those who pretend to be good Jews, who in fact belong to Satan's crowd.
Fear nothing in the things you're about to suffer—but stay on guard! Fear nothing! The Devil is about to throw you in jail for a time of testing—ten days. It won't last forever.
Don't quit, even if it costs you your life. Rev. 2:9-10MSG



The challenges to my own heart...

Do I persevere in suffering and hardship?

Am I motivated to not quit by the truth that nothing else compares?

Do I believe that? - that God really is worth it?

Do I keep an eternal perspective knowing all trials here are temporary?

Am I willing to suffer for my faith...not in just the big scary ways like persecution, but am I willing to suffer and self sacrifice in all the little daily ways so that God can be truly seen and glorified in my life?

These are the words Jesus spoke to the church in Pergamum:
I see where you live, right under the shadow of Satan's throne. But you continue boldly in my Name; you never once denied my Name, even when the pressure was worst, when they martyred Antipas, my witness who stayed faithful to me on Satan's turf.
But why do you indulge that Balaam crowd? Don't you remember that Balaam was an enemy agent, seducing Balak and sabotaging Israel's holy pilgrimage by throwing unholy parties? And why do you put up with the Nicolaitans, who do the same thing?
Enough! Don't give in to them. Rev. 2:13-16MSG



These questions pricked my heart in response....

Do I pick and choose my areas of obedience?

Are my standards God's standards? in ALL areas?

Am I compromising anywhere?

Those are some really deep questions. They shouldn't be rushed over, but savored and considered. Let them simmer within you for a time. If you ask God with an open heart, sincere in your desire to hear him, I know he'll answer you and make clear those places he's longing to touch with freedom and grace.

Immerse yourself in these questions this week and then come back next week for his words to the other four churches and the questions they prompt us to consider.

Father God, thank you for the dramatic result of Easter. Thank you that because of Easter Jesus truly is the first and the last, once dead but now alive, the holder of the keys to Death and Hell. We invite you Holy Spirit to speak to us as we consider the words Jesus spoke to the seven churches. Let us recognize those areas you desire to touch in order that we can move into freedom and deeper relationship with you. Let us receive your challenges to others as challenges to our own hearts. Let us have the courage to act upon what you show us. Lead us in how to move forward in each area for our desire is You and nothing but you. Use your Word to teach us, free us, heal us and change us. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Spring Break

The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14

It's Spring Break week and I am off with the love of my life pursuing rest, relaxation and some recreation. I pray you have a meaningful Resurrection celebration!

Love,
Juli